William Joseph Murphy III is accused of burglarizing eight Baldwin Borough homes—and attempting to burglarize two others—leading to an arrest by Baldwin police on Thursday at a motel on Route 51 in Jefferson Hills Borough, police Chief Michael Scott said.
Until recently, Murphy, 28, lived in the 600 block of Blossom Drive in Baldwin. He is accused of stealing items from the homes of four neighbors in that same block in south Baldwin—including one home twice—Scott said.
The three other burglaries happened on nearby Elaine and Norma drives, and on Elderslee Road in central Baldwin.
The eight burglaries for which he is being charged all occurred since October 2012, Scott said. That does not include incidents on Jan. 4 or 16 in which residents claim to have spotted Murphy trying to burglarize their homes.
The Jan. 4 incident, in which Murphy was detained by officers from multiple police departments after an attempted break-in at another Elaine Drive home, led to Murphy being sent to the Allegheny County Jail. (The Baldwin-Whitehall Patch captured that detainment on video.)
However, Murphy made $500 bail soon after.
Murphy is accused of then attempting to break in to a home on Jan. 16 on nearby Sunny Drive, Scott said. Like the Jan. 4 incident, though, Murphy was thwarted by the victim, who positively identified him, and then sent to jail.
"On Sunny ... (the victim) confronted (Murphy), and he went back out (of the house)," Scott said. "I guess his face was through the window. His head was through the window, and then, he took off running."
After Thursday's arrest, Murphy went back to the county jail, and his bail was set at $50,000, which he has not made as of Tuesday. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at District Magistrate John N. Bova's Wallace Building office on Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.
In addition to the eight burglary charges coming from evidence gathered prior to Thursday's arrest, Baldwin police are also charging Murphy with 10 counts each of receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking, according to an online court document.
Murphy also faces separate charges from the Jan. 4 Elaine incident, including one count each of burglary, trespassing and the illegal sale or transfer of firearms and two counts of receiving stolen property. For the Sunny Drive incident, he is charged with one count each of trespassing and criminal attempt-burglary.
Scott said that the items stolen by Murphy since October include jewelry, cash and two guns that, all told, approach $20,000 in value.
One of the guns has been returned to its owner, Scott said. Police believe that the other gun is the one that Murphy said that he bought on his own and sold for heroin.
Read through other Baldwin Borough police items here.
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